Running Technique

I say, all you running chaps and chapess'es out there. I have a question. Tis this :

How many of you land on your flat foot and NOT on your heel?

I've been watching a load of youtube videos on the do's and don'ts of running technique and ONE thing that comes across is DO NOT LAND ON YOUR HEEL!!!!

Ok. Here's where I worry. To be honest with you all, I sort of "shuffle" jog along at a pace of about 6'05 per kilometre. Sometimes fast / sometimes slower, but one thing I would LOVE to conquer is the correct way to run - and that seems to be landing on the front of your foot each stride thereby eliminating shock and awe to the body and avoiding injury. Never land on your heel.

I DO land on my heel and it gives me comfort. Each landing I pray to the GODS of Brooks running shoes that it is THEY, and THEY alone who have crafted this perfectly expensive running shoe with support on the instep which enables ME to land triumphantly on my heel......but only for a micro second. So HOW do I land on my front foot?????

I have tried to do this. I have tried to pick my legs up when I run. I get exhausted after about 5 seconds of trying these two things. So WHAT TO DO?

I would love to hear from anyone that say landing on your front foot is normal/easy/the norm/duh Dan, you loser...

I truly believe that if I had specialised training, I could run further / faster and more comfortably. But to be honest - I can't be arsed. I'd rather learn from YOU all and adapt as necessary.

Answers on a postcard please......OR, just answer on here!!

Toodle pip



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14 Replies

  • Hi Danzo, I have posted many times about foot planting on here. When I first started running I followed Laura's instructions and did heel plant first, which caused me shin pain. I kept on until the pain went into my knees when I kept running one day longer than the podcast - tut tut!

    After resting for over a week I decided to analyse the way I was running and went out to play about with foot stride. I very quickly realised that planting my foot MID foot had less impact on my heel, shins and knees. It did mean that I shortened my stride initially but once I was comfortable with mid foot strike I was then able to lengthen my stride again. I find these days when running up steep inclines I am even further forward onto the ball of my foot almost.

    Since running this way I have never suffered from shin pain. Hope this makes sense and helps a bit.

  • Superb answer Oldgirl thanknyou. I too will endeavour to correct my technique.

  • Its not a matter of correcting your technique Danzo, its more a matter of getting a stride that's best for you. Play about with your foot strike and really think about how it feels. It may take a few runs for you because you have been running much longer than I had when I changed. What you may also find is that when on a very flat level/slight down hill surface you can lengthen your stride to gain speed which will in turn automatically place you into more of a heel strike. When this happens to me I lean forward which corrects my stride back to mid foot. I hope I'm not causing confusion with all this striding ;)

  • I swapped to mid-foot landing from heel first and now find it makes me feel a lot lighter on my feet... BUT don't swap at once! I did 5km in one go and was in agony and unable to straighten my legs comfortably for 3 or 4 days afterwards. Lesson learnt, I did intervals of heel first alternating with mid foot strike, gradually building up time spend doing the latter (much like c25k) and then found that it seemed more comfortable. I still switch to heel first when going down the steep hill near the beginning of my regular run though - I haven't worked that out yet.

    When I had my gait analysed I was doing the heel first thing, and was told it was ok, but to make sure that whatever part of my foot I landed on it was under my body, not ahead of it.The guy suggested I imagined there was a glass door in front of me, and that it wasn't allowed to be my foot that touched it first. I can't quite remember how he tried to help me visualise the door continually moving in front of me (not to be kicked of course) and I can't say that it's an image that's been at the forefront of my mind when I've been running. But maybe it'll help you imagine how you should be landing??

  • I think that I naturally land on the mid foot. I remember Laura talking about heel first and I did try but it felt really strained. Are you sure there is really a 'right' way of landing - opinion is divided which suggests it doesn't matter much.

    Did you see the video about the gait analysis that was posted on here last week? They talked about ideally getting the rear lower leg up parallel to the floor but I find that incredibly tiring - its supposed to help you lengthen your stride I think. So much to think about......

  • I think you just do what comes naturally. My ears pricked up on that clip too as I thought I could never lift my feet up that high. When I was out running the other day I checked out what other runners were doing and they were all the same as me. No-one had their feet up as high as the guy was suggesting. I wonder if your feet go higher as you get progressively faster.

  • I just run how I run, and I haven't had any injury, although Mr Juicyju says I look very 'upright' as he spotted me going past one day, I think he was taking the pi$$...I think I land on the whole foot not one end or the other...Dan you need to find whats comfortable for you and doesn't cause injury. I can't handle all this complicated stuff I'm too simple!!!

  • When it dries out a bit, take your shoes and socks off and run through the grass, you'll find your body quickly switches to mid/fore foot strikes as a way of protection. Then just try to remember it when your running, but as mentioned take it steady, slowdown while running fore foot until your used to it. I didn't and had to take a month out because of it. Wouldn't switch back now though.

  • Hi Dan - I also saw the advice about running on mid-foot and because I have a problem with my knee I followed it and as others are saying it works really well for me. Running heel first gave me shin pain and now I have no pain at all. I jog at just under 8km per hour. I have a very short stride and make sure that my feet don't come far off the ground ( I keep visualising the hedge - so that if someone saw me from over a hedge they wouldn't know if I was walking or running - to minimise bounce) and it works. Hope that helps!

  • I'm with JuicyJu; just run how you run. I think it's quite hard to make changes to your natural gait. I try to avoid running heel-first because that is uncomfortable and it feels to me as though it's thudding up my 'delicate' spine. Mid-foot running seems to have evolved for me as a way to minimise the thudding!

  • Hi Dan, I've struggled with this for a few weeks too. I suddenly can't drive so am walking much more, which has changed the musculature of my calves (oo-er!) and therefore I was suffering from painful shins when I ran. I tried running on the ball of my foot, changing the odd few minutes at a time thanks to advice from runningnearbeiruit, and this helped but it was tres difficile to remember. Then I saw a video (not the one referred to above, which is good but complicated) which suggested that I should just kick my feet towards my bum a bit more. Now, if I'm honest, and although it pains me to admit this, my sagging buttocks aren't that far off the ground anyway (sorry - tmi?) , so raising my feet just a little seems to have made enough difference that ta-da - no more shin pain :) So I would advise thinking about how you place your feet every so often while you run, and then it should become just one of those things you don't need to worry about as much. Happy running!

  • Thank you all so much for your replies. Very interesting reading indeed. I'm of the mind to perhaps stop worrying about all this - after all, I'm never going to be (or want to be) an "athlete". I'm just happy to get out there and keep my stomach flat!!!

  • Hi Dan, I recently bought a decent pair of running shoes and had the Gait analysis done. Am on Week 8 now but am running for the first time in my life! The guy asked if I had been told to land on my toes which I said I hadn't and that was just what happened - he did say which made me laugh, considering how very inexperienced I am, that marathon runners run on their toes for efficiency as you miss out the heal strike and rolling through into toes which therefore saves energy. I tried to run with heel strike but found it really hard work and awkward! Spoke to a trainer who said mid-foot is ideal really. Anyway for now and certainly until I've cracked 5K, I will continue to be a lazy marathon runner as it's working and I don't want to rock the boat ;)

  • Congratulations on reaching Week 8 SarahLou! - I'd be interested in how you get on with your running style. I've decided I'm too old and contrary to change!!

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